River Monsters Wiki

Atomic Assassin is the second episode of the fifth season of River Monsters.

Episode Description[]

Jeremy Wade searches for a monster that leads him to the site of the worst nuclear accident in history, Chernobyl. In a nerve-shredding race against radiation & time, he searches for the perpetrator of a series of grizzly attacks.

Episode Summary[]

Extreme angler Jeremy Wade was lured to Somyn Lake in Ukraine by a mysterious underwater attack. The legendary Wels Catfish is found in ancient tales across Europe, and Jeremy is convinced that it is also responsible here. Jeremy is initially unable to catch a specimen, but he hears reports of further attacks, this time from the cooling pond of the Chernobyl nuclear reactors.

Jeremy is able to obtain special access to fish within the exclusion zone as officials believe that he may find invaluable evidence of mutation. Any more information would provide researchers with further insight into the affects of radiation. Scientists already know a little, and have seen some of the impacts. One expert shows Jeremy a Wels from Chernobyl with an extra lower jaw.

However, authorities demand that Jeremy agree to hand over the fish after it is caught. Otherwise, there would be no way to thoroughly analyze it. He is also only granted four days within the zone as any more would expose him to dangerous levels of radiation.

He manages to catch many Zander, also known as "Pike Perch", but is unable to catch the enormous catfish. When the Zander don't attack, he finds little activity. Due to an after Dark curfew, he isn't allowed to fish into the night, when sight predators like Zander would be less active, and Catfish are famous for their activity.

On his final day, he moves to the pipes between the cooling pond and the famous reactor number four, which exploded nearly thirty years before this episode was filmed. Jeremy's first attempt results in a bite, but the fish escapes. He moves to another spot, and here he manages to bring in the radioactive catfish. Research would show that this specimen was sixteen times more radioactive than normal, and only one half of the average size of a Wels of its age.

Animals Featured[]

Locations Featured[]

  • Ukraine
  • Chernobyl
    • Reactor #4


  • A farm lad goes into the water to cool off and is mauled by a large animal. He gets dragged to shore and the beast escapes.
  • A man is doing underwater repairs in Chernobyl when a large fish rips his hand clean off and escapes.


  • On 26 April 2016, 30 years after the disaster, Animal Planet helped commemorate the event by playing this episode and Life After Chernobyl.